J told me Nathan could sense when she had sinned. When I asked how that was possible, she could not give an answer. She said, “He just sees it in my face.”
Nathan rarely needed to sense anything. We were all desperate to please him, to please God.
We confessed our darkest sins and our imagined ones.
It was never enough.
By the time our group visited a small church in Corsicana, I felt alone and desperate. I was trying to rectify Nathan’s teachings and actions with what I had been taught my whole life. I could not pinpoint why I felt so guilty, so sinful when I tried so hard.
I remember walking around the Corsicana church in a haze. I was smiling and playing my part, but I was wondering if I had a chance to run away. Could I walk to a bus station? What would I do for money? Could I call my parents? These were idle daydreams because even thinking of defying Nathan scared me.
When the people of the church prayed over us, the man praying for me was saying how much God loved me. God valued me. He had great things planned for me. I cried my heart out, wishing it were true.
It was the most hope I felt in months.
Then it came time for the Master’s Commission students to pray for the church. Before I could step forward, Nathan called me to the back of the church. Natalie stood off to the side. While everyone else was praying, Nathan got down to eye-level with me and said, “God is very unhappy with you. You are rebellious and keep pushing us away. You either need to get things right or I’m kicking you out of the program.”
I should have been thrilled. I should have hit the ground running and never looked back. Instead, it was like a physical blow. I began sobbing. I had never been a bad kid. I had never been kicked out of anything. My parents, teachers and pastors had always taken pride in my eagerness to do the right thing. Now, I was a failure. I fully believed God was mad at me because Nathan was mad at me. If God did not want me, who would?
I did not only beg to stay. I wept, pleaded and groveled. Nathan, so graciously, put me on probation. I could stay if I began to be obedient. Though I had never defied an order to work, pray or study my motives were not pure. I was disobedient and rebellious of spirit. If I made a marked change, I would be taken off probation and allowed to stay. I felt a wave of gratitude.
Afterwards, the church members shared dishes they brought just for us. When they all left the room, Nathan made rude comments about the taste and quality of the food. I snapped out of my fog of relief and, for the first time, clearly saw Nathan was a bad guy. This man who just lectured me about God’s love and “pure motives” treated strangers disrespectfully and his students terribly.
I resolved to fake my way through the rest of the year and get as far from MCA as I could. I was already an outsider in the group, the other students knew I was considered a troublemaker. Pretending would be easy since I was so alone.
Looking back, I’ve tried to decipher what reason Nathan could have given for kicking me out. How would he tell my parents the three thousand dollars they had paid for my stay in Master’s Commission was rendered irrelevant by my rebellious heart? Time and wisdom have reduced a lot of Nathan’s threats to ridiculous bluffs.
That was why he “taught” young, inexperienced kids.
It is also why he will not talk with us now.
Former MC from Texas attended Master’s Commission of Austin under Nathan Davies. She loves the Longhorns and Tex-Mex.
To contact Former MC from TX or to drop her a line, you can email her at: FormerMCTX@gmail.com
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